The Milky Way is an immense and fascinating place. Not only is it about 120,000 – 180,000 light years across, it is also home to the planet Earth, the birthplace of humanity. Our Solar System is about 25,000 light years from the galactic center, close to the inner edge of the Local Bubble, a cavity of the Orion Arm composed of hot and diffuse gas. But within all this complex information about the Milky Way, there are some additional data, all of which are impressive.
17 Surprising facts about the milky way
1. There is a galaxy practically equal to the Milky Way
The Milky Way is then a different galaxy, is not it? Well, not so much. It is extraordinary, but not the only one of its kind, in fact, galaxies of its type (with spiral shape) are the most common in the universe. There are no less than about 170 billion galaxies visible out there, and there is one, in particular, the galaxy NGC 1073, which has enormous similarities to ours, for example, it has two smaller satellite galaxies, such as ours, something that does It is particularly exceptional. It’s just an example because NGC 1073 has so many similarities with the Milky Way that scientists commonly call it “the twin.”
2. The Milky Way is moving all the time
That’s right, as we saw when we analyzed the movement of the Sun and the Solar System in the galaxy, the Milky Way itself is in constant change in space. A universe is a fantastic place, and everything there works majestically. If you want to feel pretty tiny, just take a look … the Earth, like everything in the Solar System, revolves around the Sun, the Sun around the Milky Way and this, which is part of the group of galaxies known as Local Group : a broad set of constellations that move thanks to the radiation microwaves that remained in the universe as a result of the Big Bang. The Local Group runs at a speed of 600 km / s, that is, at about 2,200,000 km / h. We, on Earth, are so insignificant that we do not feel that speed in the least.
3. There is a vast black hole in the center of the Milky Way
The holes or black holes are the most curious, unusual and unknown places that exist in the universe, what we do know is that as in most galaxies, a black hole is at the very center of this galaxy. In the Milky Way, this center is known as Sagittarius A * and is a black hole with a mass equivalent to 40,000 soles.
4. Some one billion is very similar to Earth
A data perhaps even more interesting and surprising is that of that massive number of planets floating and moving together in this galaxy (and to say “our galaxy” is quite daring, right?), About a billion is very similar to the one we inhabit. There are dozens of types of different planets, some formed by gases, others by rock and others in which even certain types of metal rain. A recent scientific study, which investigated some 42,000 stars very similar to the Sun, showed that between 11 billion and 40 billion planets orbit them with many similarities to the Earth with the Sun and about a billion are similar to be able to house various types of alien life. The area that hosts these promising planets is known as “Goldilocks zone,”
5. It has about 100 billion planets in its interior
Returning to its composition, something essential to know this galaxy and also to marvel at its majesty, the Milky Way also has about 100,000 million planets inside. While the number of stars in the Milky Way is a variant that is continually changing, a standard amount of about 100 billion maintained and for each of them, there is at least one planet orbiting around it. These means that only in this small corner of the universe that we call the Milky Way, there are between 100 and 200 billion alien planets.
6. The Milky Way is as old as the universe itself
Achieve its immense size and composition is something that did not happen from one day to another, as you well imagine. The galaxy of the Milky Way is so, but as old as the World itself. You will also believe the difficulties that calculate the age of the universe supposes.
Nevertheless, a consensus exists in the estimation, suggesting that the period of the world is understood between 13,761 and 13,835 million years, approximately. On the other hand, it believed that the Milky Way is at least 13.6 billion years old. All these calculations are made by analyzing the ages of the stars and their relationship with the Big Bang.
7. It is full of ashes and gases
In addition to billions of stars and other minor galaxies, the Milky Way has enormous amounts of dust, ash, and gases in its composition. Experts say that a layer with a diameter of 6000 light years of earth and ashes can be observed only in the visible spectrum of the Milky Way. Of course, do not forget that its size is about 120,000 light years in diameter.
8. It also has many other galaxies inside it
The lovely winding state of the Milky Way was not always the case. To achieve this shape and especially its large size (although there are galaxies still much more extensive than this one), this galaxy ate other smaller galaxies, metaphorically, of course. The dwarf galaxy Elliptical of Sagittarius (SagDEG), is an excellent example of this. Also, the Milky Way continues to do this, absorbing smaller galaxies in its composition, such as the dwarf galaxy Canis Major, which is the closest to ours and which is currently being incorporated by the Milky Way.
9. The Milky Way has a spiral shape
The Milky Way, like the vast majority of the galaxies in the universe we know, have a perfect spiral shape. It is a disk nearly 120,000 light years in diameter.
10. It has more than 200 billion stars
Although it is not a simple task, scientists estimate that there must be between 400,000 and at least 200 billion stars in total in the entire Milky Way. At first glance, in the most precise night, you can enjoy, from Earth you can only appreciate 2,500 in total. However, the Milky Way is losing stars at every moment, in the same way, that new stars are born. It estimated that about seven new stars appear each year in the Milky Way.
11. It is deformed
To begin with, the Milky Way is a disk about 120,000 light-years wide with a central bump that has a diameter of 12,000 light years; They are dimensions that, in many cases, escape human understanding, but for you to have an idea, one light year equals 9,460,730,472,581 kilometers. The disk is far from being entirely flat, as we can imagine. In fact, it deformed, the fact that astronomers attribute to the two neighbors of our galaxy: the Great Cloud and the Small Magellanic Cloud. It believed that these two dwarf galaxies – which are part of our “Local Group” of galaxies and that might orbit the Milky Way – have been pulling the dark matter of our galaxy as a galactic “tug-of-war” game.
12. We are approaching a collision with Andromeda
Interestingly, two galaxies could pass through each other and have no disagreements despite their billions of stars. That scenario is much more likely than a real collision due to the vast distances between objects. These relieve us a bit since the Andromeda Galaxy, and we are heading to a meeting in the distant future. At present, both galaxies are approaching each other at a speed of up to 140 km / second, has scheduled a meeting in the next 4 billion years. We probably miss it.
13. It contains millions of planets
The planets and each sun will have their own “lucky” zone. In other words, it is possible that most stars have a planet (or two) that falls into a habitable zone of life where it is not too cold or too hot. They could have liquid water if it is solid; Even if it is a gas giant planet, it could have water in its atmosphere, so something organic could float and live, despite the lack of “surface.” However, the equations show that, unless we are fortunate, we probably do not have a neighbor nearby.
14. Has a Black Hole in the center
Most of the more significant galaxies have a supermassive black hole (SMBH) at their center, and the Milky Way is no exception. The center of our universe is called Sagittarius A *, a massive source of radio waves believed to have a 22.5 million kilometer black hole, roughly the size of Mercury’s orbit. But this is just the black hole itself.
All the mass that tries to enter the tunnel called the accretion disk forms a circle that is 4.6 million times the mass of the Sun, and would fit within the orbit of the Earth. Although like other black holes, Sagittarius A * tries to swallow anything that is nearby, star formation has detected near this monstrous astronomical phenomenon.
15. All the rotating galaxy images you see are not photos of it.
So far, we are unable to fly out of the galaxy’s disk and go over it to shoot it. We live in the disk of the Milky Way, about 26,000 light years away from the center of the Milky Way. It is impossible for us to take a panoramic picture of our house in our own home. It is also impossible to make a photograph of the Milky Way before we can fly out of the Milky Way. These means that the spiral galaxies you’ve seen that are said to be the Milky Way are either other galaxies or drawn from which artist’s hands.
16. There is dust everywhere in the Galaxy
Ordinary observers may not realize this: the galaxy is full of dust and gas. In our universe, 10%-15% of the bright matter (visible matter) is in the form of dust and gas, and the rest constitute stars. The Milky Way is nearly 100,000 light-years, and what we can see in visible light (we mentioned before) is less than 0.6 million light-years.
17. The ripple of the Milky Way
Although the Milky Way is a spiral, by definition, this is not an entirely correct way to define it, since in reality there is a bump at the center of the galaxy. The curved section is a remnant of hydrogen gas molecules that extend away from the two-dimensional plane of the spiral. The astronomers remained puzzled by this seemingly inexplicable deformation. Logically, the gas must be expelled on the disk, not outside it.
The more they study, the thicker the mystery becomes – because the molecules in the protuberance not only distance themselves, but they are vibrating at their frequency. What is causing this? As far as we can guess, dark matter and a couple of small galaxies known as the Magellanic Clouds. When the mysterious case moves through the clouds, it creates ripples, which apparently affect its gravitational pull on the Milky Way.